Year after year, thanks in part to the NFL International series — which has put regular season games in various countries around the world over the last seventeen years — the league’s global audience continues to grow, and that’s not just a blanket statement I’m using to strengthen the point I’m attempting to make in this piece.

According to a press release from the NFL, last year’s Super Bowl matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers was watched by an international audience of 62.5 million viewers, the most in the history of the sport and a figure that represents a 10 percent increase from the previous season’s Super Bowl. It helps that the game was aired live in over 195 countries/territories, including England, Germany and Mexico, three countries that have routinely hosted regular season games over the last few seasons.

With impressive viewership numbers like that, plus one sellout after another in the NFL International series, it makes sense that the league would continue to prioritize their worldwide expansion. And that’s exactly what they plan to do. With the league making their first appearance in Brazil this September, and a game is expected to be played in Spain in 2025, the NFL is also looking beyond 2025, eyeing several other cities to expand into.

“There’s a feasibility study, as we would call it, in a number of different European cities and Dublin is one of those,” NFL UK office general manager Henry Hodgson told the Irish Times (h/t Michael David Smith of “Looking at the stadiums, taking local meetings . . . we’ll take away all of that information, digest it and determine what the next steps are. That’s something that’s happening in Dublin, it’s happening in Paris for example, and a number of other cities around the world as well.”

The NFL made its debut in Germany in 2022

The NFL’s Worldwide Expansion

While the NFL hasn’t made an official statement on what their end game is, it’s pretty clear to see where the NFL International series may be heading. You just need to read between the lines. By 2025, the league will have played regular season games in five different countries — England, Germany, Mexico, Brazil and Spain — and it sounds like Ireland and France might not be too far behind. But why stop there?

The NFL has expressed interest in establishing roots in Australia, Africa and Asia, and it seems like it’s only a matter of time until we’re seeing games played in Sydney, Lagos and Tokyo. So here’s my prediction: within the next ten years, the 17th game on each team’s schedule will be played as a neutral site NFL International series game outside of the United States, rather than rotating each year between the NFC and AFC having one additional home game. I could see the NFL continuing to play multiple games each year in London, but it also wouldn’t surprise me if all sixteen of those matchups took place in a different location on six different continents.